Determinism is a philosophical theory holding that all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes; often understood as denying the possibility of free will. I, for instance, do not know if determinism is a continuum, permeating all aspects of our lives but what I do know is that we have freewill, to a great extent. This freewill which I speak of is nonetheless limited in certain respects by no other concept but determinism. We cannot decide on how the natural world or the universe is organised. We cannot decide on what gases to breath in or what food or herbs to eat (we can’t eat plankton) or what anatomy to have as humans. We can only decide on our abstract wishes and desires – things closely related or emanating from us.
So I am tempted to conclude that maybe what we call “Determinism” and what we call “Freewill” are the polar opposites of the same phenomenon. In other words, to the extreme left is determinism and to the extreme right is freewill. And that humanity is moving from the former to the latter. The reason for the unending argument between proponents of the two theories is that philosophy itself (logic) has an inherent problem – in that it cannot tolerate ambiguity or gradations. Neither does it tolerate any concept resembling the gestalt one. A conglomerate concept handed down by nature is often broken down by philosophers into individual parts and then these philosophers spend the rest of their lives struggling to derive meaning from the separate ideas, when in fact by grouping these ideas, we could instantly arrive at something meaningful.
Let us test this idea (determinism and freewill as opposite ends) with a historical event like the second world war. Determinists will say that the war was bound to happen due to certain “antecedent sufficient causes” whether or not Hitler became chancellor of Germany at the time or whether any humans triggered it. Proponents of freewill will say that the war occurred because of our thoughtless actions or mistakes as humans. But the fact remains, something good came out of the war, and that is the union of world nations. So we can say these two opposing concepts are a linear process juggling humanity back and forth depending on certain individual elements. African societies typically embrace determinism to a fault. In fact the typical unlettered African believe his actions or even his fate (misery or death) simply as by-products of certain divine arrangements and he is right in some respects. Perhaps we can say everything begins with Determinism and ends with Freewill. What are your thoughts?